Interview with the international company designing the Ambassadori Batumi Island

Interview with the international company designing the Ambassadori Batumi Island

Interview with the international company designing the Ambassadori Batumi Island

იუქსელ პროჟე

Check out an interview with the vice president of the Turkish company Yüksel Proje, Kurshad Elmali, who is in charge of planning the construction and engineering direction of the Ambassadori Batumi Island project.

Let’s start with a story of the company and its international experience. 

Yüksel Proje was established almost five decades ago and has extensive experience in every kind of transportation project (motorways, highways, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, railways, metro, light rail, tramways, marine structures, airports), water & environment & energy projects, and in structures with specific requirements (hospitals, educational buildings, sports facilities) in more than 30 countries. Yüksel Proje has been part of many of sizeable high-investment projects in Türkiye, Caucasus, North Africa, European Sub-Saharan, Central & South Asia, and Balkan countries with highly qualified technical team of more than 1000 experts and administrative team.

We are proud to share that according to the data of ENR News Record, Yüksel Proje is steadily rising in the list of the largest 225 design companies in the world and maintains its place as one of the companies at the top of Türkiye’s largest exporters list.

Additionally, our innovative attitude in creating and using technological infrastructures always adds momentum to our business. Within the scope of R&D, we are providing BIM, Software Development, and Engineering Analyses with more than 120 experts in different fields. We are also proud to receive the AEC Excellence Award for our BIM studies on infrastructure design in 2019. In 2022, AEC selected a “short list” of the best projects, and our project made it to this short list.

We stand by all our work, but we are particularly proud to be mentioned in some of ongoing projects in the world:

  • India; the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh Railway, which is one of the highest-altitude railway projects in the world, and the Chardham Railway, which provides access to 4 holy temples towards the Himalayan Mountains
  • Atlantic Salmon Production and Processing Facility, which will be built in Japan. It is designed to be one of the world’s most extensive salmon production and processing facilities. It is an exciting project as it is a land-based facility with a sustainable production system.
  • The Rail Baltica Project, which we provide design consultancy services for. The project aims to integrate the Baltic States into the European railway network. The high-speed railway, which crosses the borders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, stands out as the most significant transportation project in the Baltic States.

Is an Artificial island the first project of your company in Georgia?

The artificial island is not our first project in Georgia. Between the years of 2007-2008, we provided survey, design, and engineering services for George W. Bush Street-Meunargia Street New Road Project.  After then, we took part in Kars – Tbilisi Railway project about 73 km long, and responsible for construction supervision Services. Türkiye Section is completed in 2012 and, the Georgian section is still going on and includes signalization and telecommunication works. This project aims to foster the united interest of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye. Uninterrupted freight transportation between Europe to China will be established with the completion of this project.

Each of our completed and ongoing projects not only in Georgia but also in different parts of the world is of great importance for our company. It is an honor to provide engineering and consultancy services to new clients worldwide.

At what stage is the Ambassadori Batumi Island project? What were significant engineering solutions made during the design period?

We have recently finished the detailed design works and submitted the design reports and drawings to our Client, Ambassadori Batumi Island Llc. Geotechnical stability analyses and several modelling studies (wave agitation, hydrodynamic, water circulation, etc.) are currently being performed. 2D physical modelling studies for the revetments and breakwaters will be shortly performed in Ankara, Türkiye. After the completion of these analyses and studies, minor modifications may be adapted into the design.

One of the refreshing parts of designing a coastal/marine structure is that each project location requires its own unique approach, and it is not totally possible to replicate an engineering solution from another coastal/marine project. Moreover, it may not be also totally possible to apply one type of solution within a project. During our design stages, we realized that Ambassadori Batumi Island is a project where different designs should be adapted for different sections.

Even though this may sound challenging in engineering sense, our experienced and talented engineers have found successful solutions to many different coastal/marine problems in the past and they used their experiences in this project as well.

The challenging part for this project is to determine the approach direction of nearshore waves. What was observed from wave transformation studies is that the northern section of the project is impacted by slightly higher waves than the southern section, which is found to be due to bathymetric differences at the northern and southern sections of the project and the proximity of the submarine canyon to the southern section. These differences allowed us to divide the protection structures into ten different regions and create different revetment and breakwater cross sections for these regions.

During the project, after the practical work for the island’s construction began, were there any adjustments to the original plan? What was the reason?

The detailed design has created only few adjustments due to the requirements needed to be met during construction. Our Client is planning to initiate the construction works with the two buildings at the center point where reclamation meets the existing coastline. In order for the construction to be conducted, 30 m space is required between the structure and reclamation boundaries. This resulted in modifications at this area.

In addition, in order for our Client to build a construction camp, to place and store the necessary equipment to be used during construction, a construction site is planned to be created at the initial stage. This construction site overlays on the land boundaries of the project site and overlaps with most of the final layout. Revetments will be constructed along the seaside boundaries of the reclamation fill to protect against the waves for a certain period, not more than 1 year. Therefore, the design of the final layout needed some minor modifications considering the temporary revetments and the need to create a construction site.

Is the project technically absolutely safe to accomplish from the point of engineering? Is it possible to use artificial land created for habitant and tourist purposes?

Yüksel Proje A.Ş. has tremendous experience in similar projects not only in Türkiye but also in other countries (Algeria, Turkmenistan, Angola, etc.). Specifically, Ordu-Giresun Airport and Rize-Artvin Airport were created in a similar way by reclamation and protection of this reclamation by revetments. Both projects had been approved by the experienced governmental authorities and successfully constructed.

Ordu-Giresun Airport and Rize-Artvin Airport have been in use since May 2015 and May 2022, respectively. Runways, taxiways, apron and terminal buildings were constructed on top of the reclamation areas for both airports. Considering the heavy loads resulting from these structures and airplanes, it can be easily concluded that Ambassadori Batumi Island can be created, and this area can have multi functions and purposes at the same time. Similar international projects (i.e. Palm Islands in Dubai, The Pearl in Qatar) provide similar proofs of such a project.

The Black Sea is known as aggressive by its nature. Therefore, the development of the island may be associated with considerable challenges; what would you tell us about this?

Yüksel Proje A.Ş. has completed many transportation and infrastructure projects at the Black Sea coast of Türkiye, namely, Black Sea Coastal Road Project, Samsun Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ordu-Giresun Airport and Rize-Artvin Airport.

The wave modelling studies indicate similar offshore design waves for these airport projects and Ambassadori Batumi Island project. The differences are mainly resulted from site-specific conditions in the nearshore areas of each project site. Some of these differences are local bathymetry, coastline orientation, submarine canyon, etc.

The offshore design wave heights for both airports are in the range of 7.80-8.50 m and the offshore design wave height for Ambassadori Batumi Island project is slightly smaller (7.07 m) than these values. However, the most important criteria are the seabed slope and bathymetry at the project site since they impact the wave transformation and thus nearshore design waves in front of the project site.

The seabed slopes are steep for both Ordu-Giresun and Rize-Artvin airports (roughly 0.06) and the water depths are -10.5 m and -27.5 m in front of Ordu-Giresun Airport and Rize-Artvin Airport, respectively. These differences result in nearshore design wave heights as high as 7.25 m and 8.90 m respectively for Ordu-Giresun Airport and Rize-Artvin Airport.

As for Ambassadori Batumi Island, seabed slope is mild (0.006), ten times milder than both airport projects, and the water depths in front of the project site is not more than 8.50 m, less than both airport projects. The impact of these site features results in nearshore design wave heights below 5.30 m for Ambassadori Batumi Island, which is significantly lower than both airport projects. To sum up, nearshore design waves are less than the airport project, resulting in a reasonably smaller armor layer units compared to both airport project.

Has your company executed similar projects on the Black Sea coast? What was the scale of each of them? What similarities can be discovered with Batumi Island?

Yüksel Proje A.Ş. has been the designer of various projects along Turkish Black Sea coast. Some of the well-known and big-scale ones are “Ordu-Giresun Airport” and “Rize-Artvin Airport”. As previously described, the offshore extreme waves are similar for these airport projects and Ambassadori Batumi Island project. However due to site features, nearshore design waves create more critical conditions for airport projects compared to Ambassadori Batumi Island project.

As for Ordu-Giresun Airport, a berm type revetment system with a total length of more than 5 km was designed and rocks as big as 12-15 ton were used at the armour layer of these revetments. As for Rize-Artvin Airport, a revetment system with a total length of more than 5 km was designed and Xbloc concrete units as big as 18 m3 (43,2 ton) were used at the armour layer of these revetments.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, we, as Yüksel Proje A.Ş., are proud to share that the design services of Artificial Island located in the Aegean Sea (approximate size of 200 m x 840 m) under the İzmir Bay Rail & Highway Crossing and Connections Project are completed in 2017.

We used our experience in these projects, specifically in airport projects, and poured it into design studies of Ambassadori Batumi Island. Even though we have completed our design stages except for minor modifications that may be adapted due to on-going geotechnical studies, modelling works and 2D physical laboratory studies, at this stage it is safe to reveal that mostly Xbloc concrete units with different but significantly smaller sizes than 18 m3 will be used as armour layer protection along the seaside revetments of the project.

Have the Airport projects carried out in the Black Sea in Turkey significantly impacted the environment?

It is true that large amounts of reclamation fill material and rocks for revetments are used in airport projects. Environmental Impact Assessment studies were performed for both projects in accordance with Turkish regulations and laws. Not only for big projects like these airport projects but also in smaller scale projects, the impacts of the structures on the neighboring areas have been thoroughly searched, analyzed and mitigated in Türkiye. Even though it is not in our scope, we are sure that a similar approach will be adapted for this important project as well.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that these projects usually have short-term impacts than long-term impacts, since the nearby flora and fauna usually migrate to the project site after a certain period and adapt to the new environments. As for the possible impact of the project on the hydrodynamic and sediment dynamics of the area, we are currently performing modelling studies to understand if they have impacts or not. Even though our experience indicates that the impacts will be low, the findings of hydrodynamic and sedimentation studies will definitely be reflected into the EIA studies as well as into the design.

As for the infrastructure connecting the island and the city, which may be related to the general planning, is there a need to build additional infrastructure to access the island?

Yes, there will be a need to make improvements on the existing transportation infrastructure of the city near the project site to provide a high-quality access to the site. Considering the expected number of users that will be attracted to the project site, significant number of trips are expected to be generated. In order to see the impact of these trips, a traffic impact assessment should be conducted. Based on the outputs of this proposed study, the need of improvements could be determined.

What distinguishes the artificial island of Batumi from other artificial islands in the world? What advantages will the development of such a project bring to the city of Batumi?

Similar projects have been performed in various parts of the world. Some of the well-known ones are listed below:

  • Jurong Island, Singapore
  • Dalian Jinzhouwan International Airport, China
  • Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, China
  • Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong
  • Northern City, Bahrain
  • Peberholm, Denmark
  • Fisherman’s Island, Australia
  • Velana International Airport, Maldives
  • The Pearl, Qatar
  • King Abdul Aziz Sea Port, Saudi Arabia
  • Songdo International Business District, South Korea
  • Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates

The list of reclamation projects is quite long and only a few of the examples are listed above. As seen from the list, reclamation areas can have various functions and serve for different uses (i.e. industry, transport, housing, commercial, etc.).

Not only reclamation projects but also each coastal/marine project has differences resulting from its unique site-specific conditions and features. As for Ambassadori Batumi Island, the project site will eventually serve for almost all of the above given uses (except for industry) within itself and a small town will be created and added to Batumi. The project site will serve as an attraction area for Batumi in addition to the existing charm of the city, expected to significantly contribute to the different sectors, mainly tourism and housing sectors, as well as income earned from these sectors.

Let’s touch on the current global challenge, namely global warming. Is the issue of the potential rise of the sea level taken into account when designing Batumi Island, and what engineering solutions are taken to prevent this problem in the future?

Sea level rise due to global warming is one of the main design criteria for coastal and marine structures. As Yüksel Proje, we have been taking into account sea level rise and its impacts in our designs. At this point, it would be best to mention our experiences from our latest projects at the Turkish Black Sea coast specifically for the last 10 years. We have gathered extensive information about sea level rise trends at Black Sea, specifically at Turkish Black Sea coast and nearby coastal areas, through wide literature research and also from the gauge measurements. This research provided us with valuable design criteria of sea level rise trends in our airport projects, Ordu-Giresun and Rize-Artvin and we performed our designs considering the sea level rise 100 years later.

As for Ambassadori Batumi Island, we have specifically assessed the gauge measurements at Georgian coasts. The gauge measurements for the last 50 years indicate a sea level rise of +3.5 mm/yr for Batumi and +8.7 mm/yr for Poti. Since this is a signature project not for only Batumi and Georgia but also for Black Sea, in order to be on the safe side, we have considered a slightly conservative sea level rise trend of +10.0 mm/yr. This provided us with a +1.00 m sea level rise at the end of 100 years. Therefore, all of the elevations at the project site were determined considering this +1.00 m sea level rise. In addition, breakwaters, revetments and berthing areas were also designed in accordance with +1.00 m sea level rise.


Enter your keyword